I have 4 BO hens, 10 months old. I noticed 2 days ago that 3 of the 4 were losing those beautiful fluffy butt feathers. Last night when I closed up their house, I notice that two now have pretty raw, scabby areas just below the vent. Grrrr. These girls are not cramped. They have 12 ft inside and another 12 ft outside - per bird. They have layer feed and get BOSS and corn twice a day. They haven't ranged much all winter as it is quite cold and they don't like the snow/ice. I spent hours last night going over feather picking in searches. I'm off this morning to the feed store for pine tar and blue kote. I refreshed the shavings in the coop and put a good dose of DE on top as well as in the nest box. I gave them some dry cat food this morning as a treat. They thought I was a rock star. I thought I'd pick up some Sevin or Pro-Zap while I'm out just in case it could be mites. But really - COULD mites live in the great white northern winter? My coop is heated, but only with a ceramic bulb over the roost - it's only about 10 degrees warmer in the coop than outside, which today is 2. I'm at my wits end. This is my first winter with chickens. To add insult, I'm leaving in 3 days for vacation and leaving the chicken care to a family member (who is cursing me right now, I'm sure). I want to try to set up a situation for success as much as I can before I leave so that I don't come home to Armegeddon. Any suggestions that you can shoot my way are appreciated.